Oxford 1 v Wimbledon 0
Wimbledon’s inconsistent season took a predictable turn as they lost to bogey side Oxford United on Saturday (10 October), going down to a 1-0 defeat at the Kassam Stadium.
The Dons have a poor record against Oxford but looked like securing at least a point until George Baldock’s long-range strike with 10 minutes remaining condemned them to defeat.
‘If we had got a point it would have been a hard-earned one,’ boss Neal Ardley told the club’s website afterwards, ‘but at no stage today did I think we were doing enough to win the game.’
The Dons started the game positively and fashioned plenty of half-chances in the opening exchanges, with Sean Rigg dragging an effort wide following a Jake Reeves short corner and Andy Barcham seeing a shot deflected wide.
Adebayo Azeez then got involved, using his pace before forcing a save from Sam Slocombe in the Oxford goal, while Rigg saw another long-range effort go narrowly off target.
But the Dons’ hopes were hit in the 26th minute when defender Semi Ajayi – so impressive following his arrival on loan from Cardiff City – was forced off following a blow to the head.
It wasn’t until the half hour that the home side threatened when James Shea had to be alert to tip over a close-range header from Danny Hylton.
But it was a different story after the break as Oxford pushed forward. Ajayi’s replacement, Karleigh Osborne, was called upon to deny Hylton a run on goal, while Liam Sercombe then crashed an effort against the bar with Shea beaten.
The Dons introduced Bayo Akinfenwa and then Tom Elliott as substitutes for Azeez and Lyle Taylor as they attempted to regain their attacking impetus, and it nearly worked as Dannie Bulman flashed a long-range effort narrowly over the bar.
But with 10 minutes remaining the Dons were made to pay as Baldock was allowed to run unchallenged towards the edge of the area before unleashing a long-range effort that narrowly squeezed its way in between Shea and the post to put the home side ahead.
The Dons did see another Bulman effort fail to find its target, but they it was all to no avail Oxford held on for their fourth successive win.
Wimbledon will be hoping to bounce back when they entertain Morecambe on Saturday (17 October) before long trips to Accrington Stanley in midweek (20 October) and York (24 October).
Oxford: Slocombe, Baldock, Mullins, Wright, Skarz, Roofe (Hoban 85), Sercombe, Lundstram, Graham, Hylton (MacDonald 64), Taylor. Subs not used: Ruffels, George, Dunkley, Stevens, Carroll.
Goalscorer: Baldock 80.
Booked: Skarz 67, Mullins 90.
Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Robinson, Meades, Ajayi (Osborne 26), Bulman, Reeves, Barcham, Rigg, Azeez (Akinfenwa 54), Taylor (Elliott 72). Subs not used: Kennedy, Francomb, McDonnell, Toonga.
Booked: Fuller 45, Meades 62.